One of the few bloggers that I read on a regular basis (and by regular I mean everything he writes) is Tobold. He mainly discusses the theory of game design, much like I have been doing here. Often times he raises interesting points that I feel the need to elaborate on. When this is the case, I'll add the WTS (What Tobold Said) tag to the title so I don't need to waste expository time saying who he is and why I'm talking about it. I will simply include the link to the post of his in question and then add my own to it.
The Tobold post in question this week is about a game that is still in closed beta, so I haven't had a chance to try it yet (though I plan to when it moves to open beta, supposedly this summer) called Glitch. Basically, this is a Free-2-Play, non-combat mmo where you spend your time exploring and crafting. In this post, he discovers some of the end-game content in which players band together to open up new areas by completing quests. In short, I think this is a great idea.
One of the missed opportunities in the WotLK WoW expansion was the Tournament of Champions. It was neat to see it being built and they had some of the framework in place for a server-wide event like the Ahn Qiraj war effort of vanilla WoW, but the turn in quests only awarded gold, the rep quests just got you rep (and some cool items, admittedly) but the devs just unlocked the arena with a patch when they felt like it.
Imagine a world (of Warcraft, ha ha) where, after the starting zones, every single area had to be unlocked by the players, collaboratively. In a game like WoW, this could be framed as an ongoing war effort where you had to reclaim territory from advancing forces and fight your way through to quest hubs. Maybe some of them already have garrisons of the Horde (or Alliance, I guess) that had been cut off and require reinforcement and others are taken from the enemy. Players could contribute by repeatable kill quests and supply runs and, once they reach a certain point, the next area opens up. It would give a feeling of conquest in a game like WoW and would also help to level the playing field for people starting later. The first folks wouldn't have as much content, but would be a part of unlocking it (which would give it's own rewards, the more you contribute, the better the rewards, as it seems Glitch is doing) and people who started playing later would be able to access all the unlocked content as soon as they reached the appropriate level.
I think it's a great idea and would like to see it branch out to other MMOs.